Thursday, May 01, 2008

Blackwell - deeper in the red!

Academic bookseller Blackwell has shrugged off a loss of £7.6m in 2007, but warned that it will not make a profit in its next trading year.

In figures for the 12 months to end-June 2007, turnover at the 60-store Blackwell chain fell to £77.2m from £79.7m the previous year. Its £7.6m losses were also worse than the previous year’s trading, when it lost £6.9m.

Stephen Harlow, non-executive chairman at Blackwell, said that the trading period did not include Blackwell’s three-year turnaround plan, which will only start to show results in the retailer’s next trading statement. “It’s not been a good year for selling books in the traditional market,” he said. “It’s been tough but we do feel that to an extent we are bucking the trend. [In the year since June 2007] we have seen some growth and we are on target for the first year of our turnaround plan.”

Since the end of the financial results period Blackwell has announced that it is to take its business abroad, with branches to open in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of 2008.

Harlow said that while the business is currently performing better, he still anticipates a loss for the year ending June 2008. “We now have the resources to fund that loss. The next step for 08/09 is to stop losing money and make the business cash neutral. In the third year the business will be brought to the surface.”

The Yorkshire Bookseller AUSTICKS whom Blackwells purchased a number of years back, then systematically closed down all stores bar one (renaming that one BLACKWELL!) continues to find a new lease of life however at
Thousands of traditional Austicks customers migrated to the new site, where they now purchase books on a regular basis.